Imagiration of People in Libya

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  • Topic: Arabic language, Varieties of Arabic, Arabic languages
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Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics 18 (2012)


STRIPPING & NEGATIVE CONTRAST IN LIBYAN ARABIC* ALI ALGRYANI (Newcastle University) Abstract This study discusses two cases of clausal ellipsis referred to as stripping and negative contrast in Libyan Arabic (LA)1. The paper argues that both constructions can be derived by focus movement of the remnant out of TP plus deletion of that TP (Merchant 2003). The behaviour of the remnant with respect to preposition stranding, binding and locality effects can be taken as an argument in favour of this analysis. However, despite the fact that both stripping and negative contrast involve TP ellipsis, the two differ with respect to interaction with information structure, that is, while the remnant in stripping is perceived as new informational focus, the remnant in negative contrast is interpreted contrastively. 1. Introduction This paper discusses two types of clausal ellipsis referred to as stripping and negative contrast with special focus on their syntactic properties and distribution, on the one hand, and interaction with information structure on the other. The paper is organised as follows: section 1 introduces stripping from a crosslinguistic perspective. Section 2 presents cases of stripping and negative contrast in Libyan Arabic, while section 3 discusses stripping in syntactic theory and reviews previous analyses of the phenomenon. Section 4 discusses the interaction between ellipsis and information structure. Section 5 provides an account for stripping and negative contrast. Finally, section 6 presents the conclusion. 1.1. Stripping: a crosslinguistic perspective Hankamer and Sag (1976: 409) define stripping as ‘a rule that deletes everything in a clause under identity with corresponding parts of the preceding clause, except for one constituent, (and sometimes a clause-initial adverb or negative).’ Stripping, which is also referred to as ‘bare argument ellipsis’ (BAE), is widespread crosslinguistically and has been attested in a number of languages, as illustrated in the data (1)-(5). (1) English Abby speaks passable Dutch, and Ben, too. (Merchant 2003: 1) (2) Greek O Petros milaei aglika the Petros-NOM speak.3MS English ‘Petros speaks English but not French.’ (ala) but ohi not galika. French (Kolokonte 2008: 118) * I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. All remaining mistakes and errors are exclusively my responsibility. 1 Libyan Arabic can be classified into three main dialects: eastern, western and transitional-zone dialects (see Pereira 2008). The data in this paper were collected from and judged by native speakers of different varieties of western Libyan Arabic, referred to herein as Libyan Arabic (LA).



Stripping & negative contrast in Libyan Arabic

(3) German Peter wurde eingeschult Peter was sent-to-school

und and

Anna auch. Anna too (Winkler 2005: 159)

(4) Dutch Hij heeft gisteren met Peter gepraat, en he has yesterday with Peter talked and waarschijnlijk met Charlotte probably with Charlotte. ‘He talked to Peter yesterday and probably to Charlotte.’ (Aelbrecht 2006: 2) (5) Standard Arabic raʔaitu Zaid-an saw.1MS Zaid-ACC ‘I saw Zaid not Khalid.’ (wa) laysa xalid-an (and) not Khalid-ACC (Al Horais 2008: 10) The elliptical clauses in (1)-(5) are characterised by two salient features. First, they are not well-formed structures in isolation; second, they are only interpreted as full sentences with reference to the antecedent clause in the discourse (Culicover & Jackendoff 2005: 234). Thus, the stripped clause in (1) can only be interpreted as ‘Ben speaks passable Dutch.’ 2. Stripping in Libyan Arabic Stripping also exists in Libyan Arabic; in such constructions, ellipsis elides an entire clause except a constituent (the remnant), which is typically preceded by the negative marker miš ‘not’, or the focusing adverb ḥəәtta ‘too’. The latter is normally preceded by a sentential modal adverb...
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